Articles in Thailand travel
I sign up for the free two-and-a-half hour Doha bus tour; the 4pm run. The 100-year-old market is the highlight. The women encouraging us to try spoons of their brayani and other cooked food offerings — in heat that could probably melt my Crocs if I left them out for half an hour. Offering me tissues to dab at my face. Alarmed that I am sweating because they don’t seem to.
The text messages about the bomb blasts come after I conclude that this dry whiter-than-white unbuttered bread with a couple of withered brown tears of lettuce and about eight minute slices of what I presume is chicken and a dry small roll and a wizened small citrus fruit of indistinguishable nature must be the worst brekker ever served in food-loving Thailand. Thanks Nai Yang Beach Resort.
“Mam” comes out and we chat. I ask her why she’s so busy when the others are empty. “I’ve been here a long time,” she says. She’s refined. Warm. Probably 50. I tell her I want a good strong Thai massage and had a bad one yesterday. She goes inside. Chats to someone. Comes back out…
Search and you will find. No need in fact to search. Just take a walk and chances are you’ll find a market. Fresh and local. The equivalent but down-home and just-how-it’s-always-been version of the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Saturday farmer’s market.
In the morning I read in my Lonely Planet that Nai Yang Beach is exceptional and part of Sirinat National Park. It is 15 minutes from the airport, but no plane noises to be heard. To quote: “This is one of the sweetest slices of the island.” Lucky me!
I believe home is where the heart is, and we carry our hearts with us, like our breath, so anywhere and everywhere is home. And being “at home” on the move has a sense of adventure while “home” in the conventional sense comes with duties and suchlike.
The strips of texture, it turns out, that I thought might be strips of mushroom, is young bamboo, grated. There are mushrooms. There is onion, red chili and spring onion, a mix of intense and subtle flavors. The rice noodle roll is somehow sensual in texture; the fish plump and decadently fatty and warm. Perhaps another nine on the mouth orgasm scale.
Old Phuket Town is cool to roam and the outdoor market is is a great lunchtime spot. I relish my final days of “freedom,” which is what traveling typically feels like. Not like I am not free at home. But traveling, I am free from most commitments, I guess. And there is freedom of seeing so much and doing so much when it doesn’t feel like doing but like “being” in a novel place.
The next morning, Sunday, we drive right down the island to the family-run Beach Restaurant at Thong Krut fishing village on Koh Samui. It’s a fave or Richard and Barb. And it’s fabulous.
At the Bangrak fish, meat and veggie market, fishermen are pulling in on the beach and unloading their catch straight into the market. It’s busy, busy. Locals shopping on Friday arvy for the weekend. A TV crew in action at one of the stands. The vendors an eclectic bunch, ever ready to engage in hand-gestures and attempts to explain.